Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Partnership delegations from the Co-operative Credit Union League of Trinidad and Tobago (CCULTT) and the Credit Union League of Connecticut exchanged visits in May to set forth their goals for the coming year and explore future credit union-to-credit union partnerships.
Winford James, CCULTT Board President, and Dianne Joseph, CCULTT Manager, spent two days visiting Connecticut league staff and area credit unions to discuss the direction of their partnership and to set out a plan for future activities. They also attended the Connecticut league’s annual meeting.
The success of the credit union-to-credit union exchanges is a point of pride for both leagues.
Lever Brothers Credit Union in Trinidad and Tobago and Personal Care Credit Union in Connecticut have partnered since 2005. During their two-year partnership, Personal Care has assisted Lever Brothers with technical support, while Lever Brothers has provided Personal Care direction in marketing to and serving its West Indian members.
In September 2006, Seasons Federal Credit Union in Connecticut and COPOS Credit Union in Trinidad and Tobago began a partnership in which Seasons is helping COPOS create a website, and COPOS is assisting Seasons with developing its youth programs.
Despite flight delays and a shortened agenda, Joseph was nothing but positive about her visit to Connecticut. “I will always believe that the most valuable outcomes of these partnerships are the cross cultural relationships and bonds that we form,” she said, emphasizing her gratefulness for the hospitality she and James received. “Credit union people are special people everywhere.”
A week and a half after James and Joseph’s visit, five Connecticut league representatives returned the visit to Trinidad and Tobago.
Keith Weimert, Seasons Federal Credit Union CEO, John Edwards, Connex Credit Union CEO, Kevin Chandler, Credit Union League of Connecticut CEO, Nick Moalli, Credit Union League of Connecticut Member Service Representative, and Kathy Chartier, Members Credit Union CEO spent three days visiting credit unions and credit union members on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I found it very striking that COPOS is helping people fulfill their life dreams with these micro-enterprise loans,” Chartier commented on her seventh trip to the country. “It reminds us how much more effective we could be as credit unions in the United States with the opportunity to offer more small business loans.”
Chandler and Chartier were featured speakers at the 7th Annual CCULTT Leadership Conference; Chandler spoke on how to capitalize on individual skills in governance, and Chartier addressed youth challenges in governance. Melvin Edwards, WOCCU Vice Chairman of the Board, and Courtney Lodge, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions CEO, also spoke at the event.
In the coming year, the partnership plans to conduct internship exchanges between individual credit unions, create a sample governance structure for CCULTT (based on the WOCCU model) and assist CCULTT with establishing a compliance department for member credit unions.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.